Picnic in Conques Over the Hohturli Pass |  <i>Jon Millen</i> Walking to Montalcino
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John's Top 5 Walks in Europe

Our UK walking guide, John, lists his Top 5 walking experiences in Europe

To many, Jon Millen (pictured below) has one of the best jobs in the world. For over 20 years he has scaled Europe’s most spectacular, popular, and off-the-beaten-track trails researching new walking trips and updating route notes.
So, what are his five favourite walks in Europe? We asked him.

Local characters |  <i>John Millen</i> Candelabra statue above Sauges on the Way of St James |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Descending from Col de Torrent on the Alpine Pass Route in Switzerland |  <i>John Millen</i> Walkers on the Coast to Coast trail, England Farm near Crans-Montana Grasmere Bridge provides a picturesque rest stop on the Coast to Coast Trail |  <i>John Millen</i>

1. Switzerland: The Alpine Pass Route

This sensational walk cuts right through the highland heart of Switzerland. There is some tough walking but you are compensated by incredible views and comfortable accommodations at the end of the day.
The flowers in July especially are amazing and it is always novel watching local farmers often using hand tools: rakes and scythes, to cut the hay in the smaller fields. There are aspects of the trip which are more like a mountain journey rather than a walk, so only the fit need apply!
The Alpine Pass Route is available as a guided or self guided walk.

2. France: Walking in Haute Provence

This walk has been a staple trip for me since 1997 when I first escorted a group of Australians there!
The weather has generally been beaut providing luminous skies, clear long views and it has been interesting to see how the villages have changed over time. This is a trip of scenic contrasts, cultural and historic interests and impressive natural features. It is also highly photogenic!
The self guided Walking in Haute Provence holiday along small mountains and big gorges departs daily between 1 May and 30 September.

3. France: The Way of St James

Part of the longer Camino de Compostela, this beautiful walk in France is an entity unto itself.
Le Puy and Conques were points of pilgrimage in themselves and are simply beautiful places that everyone must experience once. Again it’s the journey feel to the trip I love. I was surprised how the landscape unfolded like a map each day: rolling hills, sweeping valleys, forests, and high moor. The walk ‘joins the dots’ alighting at points which were there for pilgrims 500-1000 years ago.

4. England: The Coast to Coast

Being English, how could I leave this walk in Europe off the list? The Coast to Coast is another mountain journey par excellence.
Wainwright’s classic is in my mind a masterpiece, which keeps a lot of the smaller villages that you’ll visit alive. In reasonable weather, there is a huge variety of scenery and although we do not have time zones in the UK you cross through about seven beer zones as the different breweries become more prominent in the different locations!
There is a camaraderie and sense of achievement on this tour which few walks will have. You might not have the three National Parks to yourself, but you can go for long periods without seeing a soul.
Walk it all, cycle it or try a smaller section - view the complete range of trips along the Coast to Coast.

5. Italy: Walking South of Siena

The tougher of our central Tuscan walks, on this tour you can feel how merchants and soldiers would have walked between the medieval hill towns, many remarkably well preserved.
There is normally a lot of exposure to sun on this trip as you are walking on the high ‘cretes’ or chalky ridges, but once you have sorted that with the right hat and clothing, things are fine.
The hill towns are of course fascinating, but equally as interesting are coming across tiny chapels and vineyards. The views are sweeping, and if you can afford the Brunello wines, get one, they are to die for.
Discover our entire range of active holidays in Tuscany.

>> Curious for more? View the  e-brochure online.

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